the rajanya and the vis in the Rig Veda is not as distant as it was to become in
the later Vedic period. The vis brought its prestations (contributions) in the
form of bali to the rajan or the chiefs and the relationship is a subordinate
one since the rajan is generally chosen by other rajans and the vis is
essentially the provider of tribute. It is this which sustains the families of the
rajanyas, together of course with the booty from raids.
Kshatriya of Later Vedic Period The rajanya of the Rig Veda was
gradually replaced by the kshatriya of the later Vedic period, the term
deriving from kshatra meaning power. The power was based on a greater
control over the jana and its territory, which is partly expressed by the
territory being named after the kshatriya lineage. The distance between the
kshatriya and the vis brought about a certain tension and ultimately took the
form of the kshatriya claiming more rights of appropriation and the vis being
reduced to subordination.
Importance of Lineage as Authority The tension between the two is
indicated in remarks such as, the kshatra eats the vis, the simile being that of
the deer eating grain, or the repeated reference to the raja as the visamatta,
‘the eater of the vis’ and the kshatriya being more powerful than the vis. The
vis sets apart a share for the kshatriya, the latter having a share in whatever
belongs to the former; suggestive of the germinal idea of what later became a
tax and where terms for taxes in later periods such as bhaga (a share) and bali
(a voluntary tribute) can be traced back to these times. In all accounts, the vis
is made obedient to the kshatriya. Despite the distancing between the
kshatriya and the vis, there is no ritual and social exclusion as there was with
the sudras, who were not even allowed to enter the sacrificial enclosure
(sala) to which only brahmins, rajanyas and vaishyas had access.
Establishment of New Settlements to meet New Demands The necessity
for the vis to increase their production to meet the new needs was met partly
by new settlements and extension of land under cultivation and partly by
incorporating the services of those who were outside the lineage system and
could be employed. In this situation, the sudras and dasas would be the ones
available for such work. This ultimately brought about a house-holding
economy in which the extended family constituted the household and
employed labour in a series of service relationships. The presentations made